Paul Lambert hoping Gabriel Agbonlahor can hit goal trail for Aston Villa

 

Paul Lambert believes Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor is back to his best as he looks to mastermind a rare victory for the midlands club against Manchester United at Villa Park tomorrow.

Villa have beaten the Red Devils only seven times in 58 clashes in all competitions during the Sir Alex Ferguson era.

But one of those wins was courtesy of an Agbonlahor goal in a shock 1-0 result at Old Trafford three years ago.

The striker, who won three England caps earlier in his career, has looked sharp in recent weeks after returning from a pre-season knee ligament injury and scored the only goal in last weekend's win at Sunderland.

Lambert said: "I think Gabby at this minute in time is playing extremely well.

"There is a belief that he's starting to hit top form and is definitely a real handful. He's really quick.

"When he gets up to speed, he is a handful. If he can get goals to go with his game, he will be really fine.

"Gabby and Christian (Benteke) look a threat. The two of them are a handful at the moment for anybody."

Lambert is relishing rather than being fearful of a run of fixtures which sees Villa face United, Manchester City and Arsenal in successive weeks.

He said: "Any game in the Premier League is really tough whether you are playing Manchester United, Manchester City or anyone else.

"They are the fixtures we have to play next and you get on with it. It's something I will look forward to, not something I will think, 'Oh here we go'.

"I know the task of it and the team know the task of it, but on any given day you just don't know what can happen.

"To beat someone like United you need a bit of luck.

"We also have to believe that we can win. The belief in the football team at the minute is there.

"We are going to have to play well against them that's for sure."

Lambert is also taking encouragement from Villa's own recent performances.

He said: "We've been on a bit of run. When you get a bit of a run or achieve a good result, everyone comes in for the week feeling buoyant. This week has been no different.

"We are doing really fine. They are a young team but I think they are starting to get there."

Lambert has the utmost respect for Ferguson and believes the length of his fellow Scot's reign at Old Trafford is something that will never again be equalled in football.

He said: "I don't think 26 years, or however long he will go on in the job, will ever be done again.

"It's a phenomenal record and also fantastic achievements, not just domestically but in European terms.

"The players they have got, and the football club it is now, Sir Alex has built. It's an incredible achievement what he has done there.

"It's a phenomenal thing he has done both on the pitch and off in terms of building up the club. It's a global thing, the club. It's all down to him that's for sure."

Villa midfielder Karim El Ahmadi will return after a one-match ban but defender Eric Lichaj will be banned from facing the Red Devils after reaching his fifth yellow card of the campaign.

Lichaj's fellow left-back Joe Bennett is struggling to overcome a knee injury so Enda Stevens is in contention to play. Striker Darren Bent is again absent with his ankle injury.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back